Long Island City, Queens Community Raises More than $57,000 to Jumpstart College Savings Funds for Students at Five Schools

 January 9, 2020

 The “Funding Long Island City’s Future” Campaign funds will add $60 to the College Savings Accounts of Approximately 940 students in K-2 at P.S. 76, P.S. 111, P.S. 112, Growing Up Green Charter School, and VOICE Charter School

With the holiday season behind us and the start of a new decade, NYC Kids RISE announced that the “Funding Long Island City’s Future” campaign raised a total of $57,414, nearly doubling the amount raised over the original goal of $30,000, that will go towards local students’ NYC Scholarship Accounts for college and career training. The campaign centered on the community effort in Long Island City, Queens, to support elementary school students’ futures and ultimately raised funds from more than 100 local residents, business owners, parents, and other community leaders and supporters.

As a result of this community effort, 942 kindergarten, first-grade, and second-grade students from five Long Island City schools – P.S. 76, P.S. 111, P.S. 112, Growing Up Green Charter School, and VOICE Charter School – will each receive an additional $60 in their NYC Scholarship Accounts, which are universal 529 plan college savings accounts automatically opened for every student at a participating school starting in kindergarten. The five schools whose students received these funds were selected based on the economic need of their student body.

“At the heart of the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is showing that when communities come together for students early on, we can make a real impact,” said Debra-Ellen Glickstein, Executive Director of NYC Kids RISE. “The Long Island City community has not only raised money that will benefit local students, but has also demonstrated to students and our neighborhood families that the entire community is behind them. Through this and other Community Scholarships across District 30, communities are investing in their future.”

“Community Scholarships are one important way the Save for College Program ensures that our students get both the financial support and the visible encouragement from their family, schools, and neighbors that they need to make their dreams a reality,” said School District 30 Community Superintendent Dr. Philip A. Composto. “This latest Community Scholarship is an exciting example of a neighborhood coming together to invest in the success of students and enhance the college- and career-going culture across schools. I look forward to many more across our district.”

“It’s never too early to start planning for college, and this latest NYC Kids RISE campaign harnesses the power of the Long Island City community to support students’ futures,” said Melanie Mac, Executive Director for the NYC Department of Education’s College and Career Planning Team. “This is equity and excellence in action, and through College Access for All, the NYCDOE is helping students prepare for college throughout their K-12 experience every step of the way.”

The campaign, which ran from December 11th to December 31st, included a video featuring 19 Long Island City residents, business owners, parents, and community leaders. In the three-minute video, real New Yorkers who live and/or work in Long Island City talk about this unique neighborhood and why it is so critical to invest in students’ futures and reinforce that the community is supporting their success. Supporters were encouraged in the video to make a contribution.

Contributors to the “Funding Long Island City’s Future” campaign included many local Long Island City businesses, community organizations, foundations, civic associations, houses of worship, and other institutions who came together to demonstrate support from throughout every part of the neighborhood.

Local businesses who contributed to the campaign include:

  • Alma Bank
  • Bella Via Restaurant
  • Boyce Technologies Inc.
  • Chelsea Pediatric Dentistry LIC
  • Floresta
  • Kaufman Astoria Studios
  • Manducatis Rustica
  • Matted LIC Gallery
  • Modern Spaces
  • Print Big City
  • Silvercup Studios
  • Werwaiss Properties

Community organizations, local foundations, civic associations, and houses of worship who contributed include:

  • Court Square Civic Association
  • Gantry Parent Association
  • Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement
  • Mathis Pfohl Foundation
  • Renew Queens
  • Wellspring Church NYC

TF Cornerstone Philanthropic Fund also supported the campaign as part of their Building Together youth & education pillar.

LIC Partnership President Elizabeth Lusskin said, “Long Island City is such a special community, where people from all over the world have come to live and work alongside one another, and where every block is filled with positive opportunities of every kind. Our hope is that the children of Long Island City get to take advantage of any opportunity their heart desires. That’s why the LIC Partnership has been such a proud partner in this campaign to fund Long Island City’s future, and we look forward to continuing to partner with NYC Kids RISE and identifying other ways our community can come together to support LIC’s youth.”

Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor, Senior Pastor of Center of Hope International and Co-founder of Urban Upbound, said, “Throughout my life working day-in and day-out here with the people of  Long Island City, I have been motivated by the singular desire to provide our young people with the opportunities and support to fulfill their potential. All too often, I am confronted with the deeply-rooted disparities in income and opportunity that limit our residents. Where you are born should not dictate what you do or how much money you make. With this campaign and other Community Scholarships, we are working to close the achievement gap in our communities by providing early college savings that will impact children’s future success.”

Queensbridge Houses Tenant Association President April Simpson said, “As a life-long Long Island City resident, I am thrilled to see this entire community come together to support our kids’ futures. By providing real funding for our children’s future and raising expectations that they not only complete high school, but also go to college, we are uplifting a whole generation of Long Island City children. The Queensbridge Houses Tenant Association was proud to be a part of this campaign.”

Franklin Headley, Founder and Principal of VOICE Charter School, said, “The power of expectations-setting when it comes to students’ success cannot be underestimated. Having the community join together to contribute to our students’ college savings accounts lets them know that they have people all around them – from their teachers to their parents to their neighborhood – who are actively supporting their dreams. We are so grateful to NYC Kids RISE and the LIC community for supporting the futures of our children.”

Erin Acosta, Growing Up Green Charter School Director of Development, said, “With these contributions to our students’ NYC Scholarship Accounts, not only will each child have an additional $60 in their accounts, but just as impactful is that our community is letting them know that we believe in their futures. For the long term success of our children, their families and our community, nothing is more powerful than that.”

Community Scholarships are a way for communities to tangibly and visibly support their children’s educational futures. By enabling local stakeholders (businesses, neighbors, civic organizations, etc.) to support the NYC Scholarship Accounts, Community Scholarships are a way to demonstrate community-wide support for every child’s future, encourage families to continue planning and saving for higher education, and build wealth in neighborhoods. Research shows that a child with a college savings account of just $1-$500 is three times more likely to go to college and more than four times more likely to graduate than a child without an account.


Carolina Valencia – [email protected]; 718-806-7872

Anna Durrett, Global Strategy Group – [email protected]; 415-203-1455

About the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program

The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program provides families, schools, and communities with a way to work together to save for their children’s futures. It’s a scholarship and savings program designed to make college and career training more accessible and achievable for all NYC public school students, starting with all kindergartners in School District 30 in Queens—regardless of their family’s income or immigration status. The Save for College Program is a tool that families, along with their schools and neighbors, can use and customize in the way that best fits into their lives and best supports their dreams for their children.

About NYC Kids RISE

NYC Kids RISE is a nonprofit organization working to expand economic opportunity and equity by providing families, schools, and communities with a way to work together to save for their children’s education. Building on the dreams and expectations that families have for their children’s futures, NYC Kids RISE aims to make attending and graduating from college and career training more achievable for all NYC public school students—regardless of where they come from or how much their families have in the bank.

NYC Kids RISE manages the Save for College Program in partnership with the NYC Department of Education and the City of New York, with founding support from the Gray Foundation. Each NYC Scholarship Account was opened with a $100 seed investment from NYC Kids RISE, with additional opportunities for matching funds and contributions from organizations, businesses, and community members. A contribution will not affect any business dealings with New York City or provide special access to New York City officials. Following the three-cohort pilot launched in 2017, NYC Kids RISE hopes to expand the program to reach all NYC public schools.

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